Little Ghosts

by Audrey Walls

Cape Fear River, North Carolina

You held hurricanes in your lungs,
the blackwater cough still breathing.

We escaped the waves that tunneled
down Front Street. They were nothing

compared to the bagyos that lacerated
the archipelago you called home

as a child. With our backs to the city
we traced ourselves in chalk. Here is where

we will die. Here we will be little ghosts. I brushed
back your hair & circled your head

with white gritty lines. Elbows jutting like spoons
in moonlight. That night you taught me

your tongue. I carry twin words as fishhooks
in my lips: karagatan for the ocean

& katawan for the rake of your fingers
against my back: the body.

AUDREY WALLS’ poetry appears or is forthcoming in Controlled Burn, The Louisiana Review, Mason’s Road, The Monongahela Review, and Naugatuck River Review. She was awarded the 2011 Arts Club of Washington Scholarship for Student Poets and the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2011 Frank Craddock Memorial Prize. She lives in Richmond, VA, and is an MFA candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University.